William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal debate the 1968 elections on ABC in 'Best of Enemies'

‘Best of Enemies’ – Buckley vs. Vidal on Amazon Prime

Best of Enemies (2015) carries the subtitle “Buckley vs. Vidal” and it is indeed a portrait of a rivalry, one that was presented on prime time network television at a time when there were three networks and TV news strived to be fair and balanced to a fault. In 1968, William F. Buckley was the […]

‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ – Tom Hanks vs. the USSR on Amazon Prime

If you think it was Rambo who led the American support of Afghan rebels against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the early eighties, here’s a hilarious reality check. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) is the story of an otherwise minor Texas congressman who worked behind the scenes to create a coalition of Arab states, secretly […]

‘Winter Kills’ – The great American conspiracy movie on Amazon Prime

Though technically a work of fiction, Winter Kills (1979, R) is the maddest and most entertaining of Kennedy conspiracy thrillers, a wild kaleidoscope of clashing theories directed with wit and performed with gusto by an astounding cast. Jeff Bridges is the half-brother of an assassinated President who digs up the “truth” 20 years later and […]

Reese Witherspoon in Alexander Payne's satire 'Election' with Matthew Broderick

‘Election’ – Vote Tracy Flick on Amazon Prime and Paramount+

Election (1999), Alexander Payne’s wicked satire of power and (social) politics set in the overheated incubator of a high school student body election, is as sharp and perceptive now as it was in 1999. Matthew Broderick is the passionately dedicated and somewhat condescending civics teacher Jim McAllister, whose extra-curricular involvement helps compensate for a passionless […]

David Oyelowo is Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay's 'Selma.'

Academy Award winner ‘Selma’ free on digital platforms

Selma (2014), directed by Ava Duvernay (who also rewrote the screenplay without credit, due to conditions of original screenwriter Paul Webb’s deal), takes on the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King through Alabama as a benchmark moment in the fight for voting rights and, more generally, civil rights for black citizens in the American […]

Citizenfour, a documentary by Laura Poitras with Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

‘Citizenfour’ – Edward Snowden on Amazon Prime

Citizenfour (2014), winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, is the story of Edward Snowden and his release of classified NSA documents that revealed the systematic surveillance of phone calls, E-mails, and internet activities of American citizens by the government. It was the biggest act of government whistleblowing since Daniel Ellsberg and […]

Paul Giamatti is John Adams in the HBO miniseries

‘John Adams’ and the birth of American democracy on Amazon Prime Video and HBO Now

One of the small moments of powerful insight offered in John Adams (2008), the superb HBO miniseries adapted from the biography by David McCullough and dramatized with a vivid sense of immediacy and historical texture, is the reminder that it wasn’t the election of George Washington that defined our democracy. It was the non-violent succession […]

Stuart Townsend's drama about 1999 WTO protests in Seattle

‘Battle in Seattle’ – Power to the people on Amazon Prime

Battle in Seattle (2008), the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend, is a conventional drama about the unconventional protest landmark: the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, Washington, a real event explored through the familiar fictional stories of various protesters, delegates and bystanders. Like far too many films and TV programs set in Seattle it was […]